A Philippine priest who was abducted last week by Islamic extremists has appeared in a video calling on the Philippine government to halt military offensives in the Muslim-dominated region of Marawi.
Christian Today reports that Father Chito Suganob was kidnapped at St. Mary’s Cathedral, along with about a dozen of his parishioners. The perpetrators of the kidnapping are reportedly the Islamic Maute group from Marawi.
The government has been cracking down on the Islamic extremist group by commissioning a military offensive. Government forces were specifically trying to apprehend terrorist leader Isnilon Hapilon. The Maute rebels’ targeting of Suganob and his congregation came as a response to the government’s actions.
It is presumed that, through Suganob’s video in which he appeals to the government to put an end to the crackdown, they hope to gain leverage against government forces.
Catholic Church leaders have appealed to leaders in the Muslim community to help secure Suganob’s release.
“I pray for the safety of all the hostages. I appeal to the consciences of the hostage takers not to harm the innocent as the Islamic faith teaches. I appeal to religious leaders of Islam to influence the hostage takers to release the hostages unharmed,”said Cotabato Archbishop Orlando Cardinal Quevedo.
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Publication date: May 30, 2017